Stephens Calls on Leaders to Address Rising Turnpike Tolls During Drilling Fee Talks
1/12/2012
HARRISBURG— Following the recent turnpike toll increases, and statements by Auditor General Jack Wagner and Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Roger Nutt that the current requirements that turnpike drivers contribute $450 million per year for statewide transportation initiatives was unsustainable, Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) today asked House leaders negotiating the components of a fee on natural gas drillers to include funding for the Motor License Fund, which funds statewide transportation initiatives.

Act 44 of 2007 requires the Turnpike Commission to raise tolls to fund statewide transportation initiatives, but it also called for tolls on I-80 for the same purpose. However, the Federal Highway Administration rejected the application to toll I-80, leaving Pennsylvania Turnpike drivers as the only ones meeting the obligations of Act 44. The Pennsylvania Turnpike recently raised tolls yet again to satisfy its Act 44 requirements.

“It’s completely unfair for turnpike drivers to endure annual toll increases while those along the I-80 corridor continue enjoying a free ride,” Stephens said. “It just so happens that much of the natural gas drilling area is served by I-80. Permitting revenue from the drillers to be used to satisfy the obligations of those living in the drilling area is consistent with the governor’s desire to have any fee imposed offset local burdens.”

“Montgomery County taxpayers already contribute more in tax revenue than most other counties,” Stephens added. “The success of natural gas drilling means those living in areas served by I-80 can now begin to contribute to statewide road projects without having to open up their wallets,” said Stephens.

Click here to see letter from Rep. Stephens to Speaker Smith

Click here to see letter from Attorney General Wagner
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